The soldier who died during a training exercise on Friday morning is a married father of four who had served in East Timor and Afghanistan.
The New Zealand Defence Force on Friday afternoon named the Special Operations Force soldier killed during an offshore training exercise in the Coromandel Peninsula.
He is Sergeant Wayne Taylor.
Stuff reports he died after falling about five metres during an operation involving a container ship.
The Defence Force said Sgt Taylor joined the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment as a member of the army reserve in 1993 and joined the regular force in October 1997.
"Many of the regiment, both RNZIR and NZSAS, will remember him as an outstanding soldier, leader, father, family man, and friend to many, as well as being an all-round top bloke," said Major General Peter Kelly, the Chief of Army.
"He was a consummate professional, who was known for his dedication and reliability - always upholding our core values in every endeavour."
The soldier's family are being supported by members of New Zealand Special Operations Force and the New Zealand Army.
In a brief statement, police said they were investigating the death on behalf of the coroner.
Defence Minister Mark Mitchell expressed his condolences to the soldier's family and the Defence Force.
"Your family member was a man who commanded high respect amongst his fellow soldiers and embodied the Army's core values of courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity," he said.
"I especially acknowledge the loss suffered by our Special Operations Force family and the soldier's mates at Papakura."
He said special forces regularly took on "demanding tasks and regularly accept significant risk".
"They do so to serve and protect their fellow New Zealanders."
In 2012, 29-year-old Private Michael Victor Ross died after falling into a lake near Waiouru while carrying more than 20 kilograms of gear during a training exercise.
The Defence Force was convicted the following year after pleading guilty of failing to ensure Private Ross was not exposed to the danger of drowning while at work.